Sivanandam of Tuticorin district has successfully experimented water melon cultivation in his farm during the summer and made a lot of gain, after duly studying the market for the same in the hot summer. It is observed that in summer this high-water content fruit is a hot cake among the general public and hence the water melon cultivators stand to benefit more during this season.
Sivanandam’s farm is in Kayamozhi village which is about 6 kms from Paramankuruchi village, Tuticorin district, where he cultivates hybrid type of green water melon under zero budget method.
Sivanandam briefs his life history that he went to Coimbatore after college education and worked there for seven years. However, he did not like that atmosphere with his entire mind being fixed on his family business of agriculture. With his initial experience in agriculture, he simply continued his farm operations after his parents became old enough. Agriculture is a hereditary business for Sivanandam family. His grandfather used to accumulate the waste, residues and firewood ashes for manure. Later on, his father started using chemical fertilizers and insecticides. However, Sivanandam did not give up the natural manure altogether. Rather, he was liberal in using both kinds. Since recent times, Sivanandam got enlightened and motivated to shift to organic method by his neighbour Sakthi Kumar who owned a farm next to his.
Sivanandam has 10 acres of land in the adjacent village of Nalumavadi where he used to cultivate paddy. Three years back, the paddy field got affected by a disease spoiling the growth and harvest with the colour changing rapidly. At that time, Sivanandam resorted to jeevamirdham and butter milk extract which helped him overcome the problem. From then on, Sivanandam has been staying with organic farming practice only.
Sivanandam has three acres of land in the village of Kayamozhi wherein he started cultivating lime a year back. Similarly, in the remaining one acre, he put water melon and made harvest also. What he used in this farm is the hybrid variety which received good response The hybrid variety is a compact one in size and weight. Normal weight of water melon would be from 2 kg to 14 kgs. while the hybrid one would be from ½ kg to maximum 3 kgs. and hence it would be of standard size for a family consumption. Moreover, the colour of this fruit would be dark red and sweeter than the other variety and hence the demand for this particular type is more.
Income & Expenditure Account Details of Water Melon Cultivation in one acre of Sivanandam (in Rupees)
Particulars Expenditure Income
------------- --------------- ---------
Creation of pits 2,000
Inputs & distribution 5,000
Income through sale of small fruits 10,700
Income through sale of big fruits 1,94,021
Total 25,500 2,04,721
Net Profit 1,79,221
The above statement is self-explanatory to the effect that Sivanandam has earned a net profit of Rs.1,79,221/- in one acre of water melon cultivation.
Sivanandam concludes by stating that he has been able to get such an increasing yield only because of the fact that he has studied the market and the consumers’ expectations more clearly than others.
This navadhania karaisal is the brain child of the father of zero budget, Subhash Paleker. 100 gms each of wheat, sesame, long beans, pasi payaru, full ulundhu, kondai kadalai, motchai, kanam, makka cholam should be taken. All these ingredients except for sesame should be allowed to sprout and sesame should be separately done in advance since it will take little more time to sprout. The process is to tie the same up in a white cloth and immersed in water for a day. After sprouting, it must be crushed to become like a paste and then mixed with 200 lts. water. After allowing this extract to cool for a night, it must be dispersed on the plants the next day.
Process of cultivation of hybrid variety of water melon – step by step method:-
The earmarked portion of one acre should be ploughed firmly and allowed to dry for 10 days
The land should again be ploughed with rotovator and allowed to dry for 10 days
Drip irrigation system must be established with a distance 6 ft. in between, ½ ft.depth and 1 ft.perimeter and pits to be created
Roughly 1,200 pits in an acre can be created this way
We must pour 2 kg.organic manure in each pit and fill up. The pits need to be allowed to dry for 5 days
The next day, seeding can be done @ 3 good seeds per pit and again irrigated
200 gm of seeds will be sufficient for an acre
On the 5th day, sprouting will occur
On the 10th day, weeding must be done
After 12 days the leaf insects will suck the fruit from the leaves and lead to decay of the plants
One reliable method to do away with these insects is to mix 10 kg.ashes with 10 kg.farm soil and disburse it over the leaves in the morning. This method will considerably control these insects
From the 7th day of seeding, 200 lts.jeevamirda karaisal should be poured on the plants once a week while irrigating
After 15 days the creeper will start spreading on the surface
At this time, we must a pour the mixture of 200 ml. jeevamirdha karaisal with 1 lt. butter milk karaisal (one lt.butter milk karaisal should be prepared from 1 lt.curd until it becomes 3 lt.butter milk and must be fermented for 4 days). It must be sprinkled on the plants by hand sprinkler
After 25 days from the seeding they will start flowering
On the 40th day, 1 lt.butter milk karaisal, 200 ml.jeevamirdaham karaisal must be mixed with 10 lt.water and the mixture should be disbursed on the plants
On the 50th day, navadhania karaisal can be spread in order to ensure that the fruits grow mature with considerable weight
From the 60th day, we can see the fruits becoming fully mature and they can now be harvested
One way to assess its maturity is to stroke at the outer part and find out the sound thus reflected in a mild tone
Purifying the seeds:- (Sivanandam’s innovative approach):-
50 gms. pseudomonas must be mixed in 1 lt. jeevamirdha karaisal and then 200 gms. seeds must be put in this and mixed together. This substance must be dried for an hour and then planted so that root-related problems and decaying will not occur to the plants. This is out of Sivanandam’s personal and successful experience.
Right time to plant:-
The hybrid variety of water melon can be planted from the Tamil month of Karthigai(Nov-Dec) so that the harvest can be completed in about 75 days and the fruits will be ready for consumption from the month of Panguni(March). Sales can be successfully extended for a period of three months till the month of Ani(June-July) and good deal of return can also be expected.
Innovation is the key to extraordinary success and that way, Sivanandam stands tall with his achievement in the hybrid variety of water melon cultivation.
(This article written in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan magazine by E Karthikeyan has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)